Applied Psycholinguistics


Cross-language transfer of phonological awareness in low-income Spanish and English bilingual preschool children

a1 Center for Children & Families, Education Development Center
a2 University of Massachusetts Lowell


This study investigated the phonological awareness of low-income Spanish–English bilingual children, because phonological awareness has been found to be an important prerequisite for literacy acquisition and because such children have been identified as at risk for successful literacy acquisition. Our sample included 123 Spanish–English bilingual preschool children (M=49.1 months) attending Head Start programs. Children's receptive vocabulary was assessed using the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test—3rd Edition and the Test de Vocabulario en Imagines Peabody. We assessed phonological awareness using English and Spanish versions of the Early Phonological Awareness Profile, which includes deletion detection and rhyming tasks. Emergent literacy was assessed in the child's stronger language using the Emergent Literacy Profile, which includes tests of environmental print knowledge, printed word awareness, alphabet knowledge, and early writing. Spring levels of phonological awareness in each language were most strongly related to development of phonological awareness in the other language. Final models accounted for 68% of the variance in spring English and Spanish phonological awareness. Educational implications are discussed.

c1 Lynch School of Education, Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Ave., Chestnut Hill, MA 02467. E-mail: dickindb@bc.ed